The University of Louisiana men’s basketball team debuted its new home floor on Tuesday night inside the Cajun Dome, and did so with its new-look team as the Ragin’ Cajuns are replacing four starters from last year’s 19-win team.
UL got great production from a handful of new players in the season opener and defeated visiting Loyola of New Orleans 95-67.
How It Happened: The Wolf Pack took the early lead with a three-pointer by Tim Cameron and then added a free throw by Zach Wrightsil. That lead proved to be brief as Ragin’ Cajuns forward Kobe Julien drained the first three-pointer of his career and then drove to the basket for another two-point bucket.
Loyola’s Terry Smith Jr. made a free throw which tied the game at 5-5 but that is when UL got things going offensively.
Trajan Wesley made a layup, followed by a jumper by Jalen Johnson and then a few minutes later Dou Geye showed off his offensive skills. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound from Senegal made a jump shot and then drained a three-pointer.
By the end of the opening half, UL had built up a 44-30 lead.
UL started the second half strong as Julien struck first with a layup and then Gueye added a dunk to extend the Ragin’ Cajuns’ lead to 48-30. Loyola never really threatened the rest of the way as the closest the Wolf Pack got was after Matt Maturah’s three-pointer cut the lead to 63-48 with 10:05 left.
UL would go on to have nine different players score in the game, and had five score in double figures.
Big Number: 51
That was the number of rebounds that the Ragin’ Cajuns pulled down on Tuesday with six players with at least four rebounds each. Loyola meanwhile only had 28 rebounds for the game. The dominance on the glass proved to be a big factor in the game.
Players of the Game: Jalen Johnson and Dou Gueye
The UL forwards led the way in Tuesday’s opener. Johnson posted a team-high 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting while also adding 9 rebounds. Gueye meanwhile had 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting while pulling down 9 rebounds.
Ragin’ Cajun Notes: Freshman guard Calvin Temple was officially ruled eligible to play by the NCAA less than two hours before Tuesday’s season opener — UL senior guard P.J. Hardy did not dress for Tuesday’s game and it was later announced that he had been suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules.
Next Up: Saturday at Cajun Dome against McNeese State. Tip is set for 7 p.m.